Designing Excellence: How Eye Wares Uptown Became a Design Masterpiece
by Sarah Spencer
Photos by Marie-Dominique Verdier
AFTER OVER A YEAR OF DESIGNING, planning, and development, Eye Wares celebrated the grand opening of its third location at 6001 Magazine Street in Uptown New Orleans on June 2, 2022. Eye Wares owner, Dr. Lauren Agnew, teamed up with interior designer Jacquelyn Lindsey, owner of JL Studio Designs, to create a welcoming and luxurious space where patients and customers can comfortably receive outstanding eye care as well as shop for luxury glasses and sunglasses.
“I can remember for years driving by 6001 Magazine when it was a shoddy looking gas station eye sore,” Jaqueline says. Then one day I saw it being torn down, and I was so excited to see what would one day be built there in its place.” Flash forward to early 2021, when Dr. Agnew called Jacquelyn about the Magazine Street location. “She had my instant attention because I knew exactly what building she was talking about. It was meant to be!”
With a goal to raise the bar for optical design around the country from bland and clinical to edgy and eye-catching, JL Designs knew it had its work cut out for it. “Dr. Agnew wanted the space to reflect the historic charm of traditional New Orleans while also mixing a few unexpected modern elements for an added edge,” Jacquelyn says. “With that in mind, we incorporated glass feather chandeliers down the center of the hallway, alluding to Mardi Gras headpieces. A handmade plaster ceiling ring frames the 14-foot-tall brass atrium that celebrates the delicacy of traditional plaster moldings often seen in historic mansions on St. Charles. The beloved bird wallpaper and purple wall panel that frames the Eye Wares logo nods to the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold.
These are only a small number of examples of the traditional elements incorporated. For modern elements, the team at JL Studio brought in contemporary resin artwork above the arches, the handmade glass mosaic quote wall at the end of the hallway, and a statement book that matches the stone, oversized cabinet hardware. The arches throughout the store are also a great example of traditional architecture meeting modern.
The Eye Wares’ shops offer one-on-one customer service and a fun and funky independent spirit, and the Uptown location is no exception. The shelving styling was quite a task. Laying out hundreds of pairs of glasses in an organized fashion while artistically displaying them with small decorations was not easy, but it makes the shopping experience so much more inviting and visually stimulating for the customer. “We wanted the building to feel clean, but we didn’t want the customer’s experience to feel sterile,” Jacquelyn says.
“A lot of people have told me that one of their favorite things is the head displays in the retail window,” Jacquelyn says. “Hearing this warms my heart because they were works of art personally made by the JL Studio team. We sourced each of the heads, then hand-painted them all in white, made the floral arrangements inside the heads, and installed the mounts throughout this magnificent space, the design of which perfectly encapsulates the compassionate care at the core of Eye Wares. “Although I am so thrilled with the final product and so happy for the success of Eye Wares, some days I feel sad that it’s all over,” Jacquelyn says.
Collectively, Eye Wares has the largest, most diverse selection of designer and independent eyewear in the Greater New Orleans area. Craving the colorful edgy designs or the glamorous style of Cartier? This exclusive retailer for Cartier, Gucci, and other optical artists from around the world will meet the needs of any eyewear aficionado.
“The Eye Wares Magazine location is our vision for a transformative eyewear boutique experience,” says Dr. Agnew. “From the second customers walk in the door for new frames, sunglasses, an eye exam, or dry eye treatment, they will feel like they’ve entered another world. I have hand-assembled some of my favorite lines that I believe represent the artistic, diverse, stunning aesthetics of the Uptown area.”
The stunning Uptown location of Eye Wares is located at 6001 Magazine St. 504-830-5911. They also have locations in Mandeville and Metairie. www.EyeWaresNOLA.com. You can reach Jacquelyn and her dedicated team at JL Studio Designs, LLC at 504-494-2580. www.JLSudioDesigns.com. Photographer Marie-Dominique Verdier, along with her portfolio, is available at www.MDVphoto.com.